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News | Sept. 22, 2017

Air Force, DLA Aviation rise to the challenge during summit

By Army Sgt. Saul Rosa DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Aviation hosted a Collaborative Planning Summit at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, Sept. 12-14 to improve performance-based metrics with the Air Force. 

“The intent was to facilitate cross-talk between DLA Aviation and the Air Force to ensure that we have the most effective process possible and focus on reducing under and unforecasted demands,” said Air Force Capt Daniel Musleve, Logistics Career Broadening Officer in the DLA Aviation Strategic Acquisitions Directorate.

To supplement the summit, DLA incorporated Lean Six Sigma into their problem solving processes. According to Ray Kimber, a master black belt, Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation. It combines lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, and Six Sigma methods to eliminate waste, defects, over-production, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra-processing.

Musleve explained that Six Sigma master black belts from DLA Headquarters facilitated the event to ensure long-term issues identified as DLA, Air Force, or cross-functionally owned, were developed as continuous process improvement projects or resolved as short term problems, or “just do its”, during the summit.

The first half of the summit was dedicated to explaining the Air Force and DLA’s planning and execution processes from requirement generation by the Air Force through DLA’s system and finally delivery.

Musleve explained that an analysis of the Air Force Industrial Support Activities indicated that while contract execution and materiel delay are major drivers, the primary driver for lack of support is unplanned or under-forecasted items. 

“Stakeholders of the Air Force and DLA planning communities will assemble to map the planning process, identify gaps and seams in current processes, and ultimately establish potential process improvement projects with the intent of reducing the occurrence of unplanned and under-forecasted items,” said Musleve.

During the second half of the summit, attendees were broken into teams dedicated to identifying and creating solutions for problems in the process.

Musleve explained that 17 projects were identified ranging from short-term “just do its” to long-term CPI projects for fiscal year 2018. Five critical projects include: improving collaboration with the Air Force product data control model and DLA; improving communication and collaboration between the 448th Supply Chain Management Wing and DLA; aligning and posturing full-time equivalents to be more proactive; improving interactions and meetings between the Air Force and DLA; and improving the process for communication and collaboration between both agencies.

DLA Aviation Deputy Commander Charlie Lilli explained that his success criteria for the summit was finding problems to solve and focusing on them for the next fiscal year.

As problems were identified, owners of the problem and champions from the agencies were identified to be accountable and see the solutions through to fruition within the agreed time period.

The summit was designed to bring together the Air Force and DLA Aviation to collaborate with other agencies to solve problems. With champions and goals selected, DLA Aviation and the Air Force will work together to improve their partnership resulting in improved warfighter support.